Finland is world’s ‘happiest country’ – UN

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This year’s happiest place on Earth is Finland, according to an annual UN report – toppling Norway from the top spot.

The World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” – how happy people feel they are, and why.

Nordic countries regularly appear in the top five, while war-hit countries and a number in sub-Saharan Africa regularly appear in the bottom five.

Burundi was the least happy, taking over from the Central African Republic.

It was thrown into crisis when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for re-election to a third term in 2015 sparked protests by opposition supporters who said the move was unconstitutional.

This year’s report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network also features data about the happiness of immigrants in their host countries, with Finland also coming top as home to the happiest immigrants.

What is Finland known for?

  • The Finns love to get hot and steamy in saunas – with an estimated 3.3 million, there are enough steam rooms for more than one every other person
  • They have the most metal bands per capita. The most famous include HIM, Nightwish and Children of Bodom
  • From Lapland, you can see wild reindeer, the Northern Lights and if you are lucky Santa Claus
  • The country’s most famous exports include the cartoon characters called Moomins and the mobile gaming app Angry Birds

“I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well,” American teacher Brianna Owens, who lives in Finland’s second biggest city Espoo, told Reuters news agency.

The survey ranks some 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 by the happiness of their immigrants.

Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland were the other countries in the top five. The UK and US came in at 19th and 18th places respectively.

Togo is seen to be this year’s biggest gainer, moving up 17 places, while the biggest loser is Venezuela, which dropped 20 places to 102nd.

The world’s happiest – and least happy – countries
Happiest Least happy
1. Finland 147. Malawi
2. Norway 148. Haiti
3. Denmark 149. Liberia
4. Iceland 150. Syria
5. Switzerland 151. Rwanda
6. Netherlands 152. Yemen
7. Canada 153. Tanzania
8. New Zealand 154. South Sudan
9. Sweden 155. Central African Republic
10. Australia 156. Burundi

 

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